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View Diary: Debt Ceiling and 44% (29 comments)

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  •  The restaurant analogy needs to be used. (1+ / 0-)
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    librarisingnsf

    Most people don't understand that the debt ceiling is about paying bills for things we've already bought.  For some reason, many (perhaps most) people have this simplistic view of how the government funds its operations.  They think it pays for everything in cash.  Well, not literally, but they seem to think payment is made up front.  "Well, if the government isn't allowed to borrow any more money, they can't spend it, right?  Problem solved!"

    The absolute best analogy to explain to people what the debt ceiling is to compare it to a credit card at a restaurant.  You sit down, you order your food, you eat it, then finally the bill comes.  At this point, you have to pay it, and if that means you have to use your credit card, then that's what you have to do.  You don't have the option of getting up from the table and leaving -- you've already eaten the meal.  And if you've hit your credit limit, well, you're screwed aren't you?

    Usually, when you explain it to people that way, they get it.

    ------RM

    •  To stay with your restaurant analogy, if you (0+ / 0-)

      or the US government feel that you are spending beyond your means, you don't go to a restaurant in the first place. Instead of raising the debt ceiling to payoff existing debt, don't incur the debt at all. For both governments and families overspending will eventually mean financial downfall (a close example is the unmet pension liabilities of local and state governments).

      •  Exactly, but... (0+ / 0-)

        ...we aren't talking about not going to the restaurant.  We're talking about getting up from the table and sneaking out.

        The money has been spent.  We do not have the option not to pay the bills.  If that means we have to borrow the money, then we have to borrow the money.  The alternative is the equivalent of bankruptcy.

        ------RM

      •  Wrong (0+ / 0-)

        Again this bullshit analogy of personal vs. government debt. I don't have my own currency to float plus i will die some day. The federal government can devalue the currency and also push debt off into the future to grow out of it.

        Just another day in Oceania.

        by drshatterhand on Fri Sep 13, 2013 at 10:48:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  So how do you think it would go... (0+ / 0-)

      ...if President Obama made a special address to the nation and explained the debt ceiling in this way? Would the punditry pick apart the analogy and confuse people again?

      I'm thinking of the best means that the administration can use to frame the question so that those who remain confused are beyond reach and those who obfuscate are seen for the manipulators they are? Is it possible for the administration to make a case in the interest of clear public understanding?

      •  The political prisms that try to clearly reflect (0+ / 0-)

        government behavior are clouded by special interests that obscure what goes on in Washington as their means of preventing corrective action.  

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